Tvr Griffith 500

The Story of a TVR Griffith 500 Rebuild

Matthew has been extensively restoring and upgrading his TVR Griffith 500, which led him to us. About 3 years ago, Matthew contacted Zircotec to help him overcome the thermal challenges under the bonnet.

Matthew’s Griffith is a late production model of the Griffith 500, finished in Aston Martin Mendip blue. The Griffith has a TVR developed 5 litre Rover V8 engine, which delivers thunderous power wrapped under elegant curves and smooth lines. The Griffith came after the angular ‘Wedge’ cars and has been quoted as being ‘TVR’s new beginning’ and ‘the first of the big-league TVRs’. When revealed at the 1990 Birmingham Motor Show, it was a showstopper and it was said at the time that an order was taken every 8 minutes.


Matthew has been the custodian of the Griffith for the last 14 years, primarily using the car for touring, track days and car events. The car has been subject to rolling restoration including a new chassis, upgraded brakes, replacement suspension, full respray and a retrim along with other enhancements to improve reliability and drivability, such as a modern ECU and electronics. The engine in the car has recently undergone a rebuild using forged internals, seeing cubic capacity increased to 5298cc. The cylinder heads have been reworked to improve flow and have been fitted with roller rockers to complement the upgraded solid high-lift camshaft. The addition of downdraft individual throttle bodies and a custom equal length, opposite firing order exhaust manifold is nod to the Rover V8 4.5 race engines that powered the TVR Tuscan Challenge race cars of the 1990s.


Where do we fit in?

To help manage the heat under the bonnet, he decided to ceramic coat the manifolds. Matthew was aware of many powder coating companies who also offer ceramic coatings for exhaust components, adding “so I decided to ask around within the TVR community to learn about the experiences of other enthusiasts.” He found out from others that most coatings looked great when they were first applied, but after a period of a couple of years they quickly deteriorated, and either were left looking messy or were sent back for another coating. The feedback from the TVR community led him to investigate what coatings automotive OEM’s use for their production cars as these would likely be far more durable and of a proven quality.

“My research lead me to a company named Zircotec who specialise in high performance ceramic coatings and heat shielding products. Zircotec supply OEMs such as Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Koenigsegg, etc. Zircotec coatings are considered one of the best in the industry and are also used within top flight motorsport such as Formula one, NASCAR, WRC and Le Mans. What sets aside Zircotec from the other ceramic coatings I have seen is they are plasma applied which I understand makes them lighter and more durable.” Matthew said.

Graphite Manifold

Matthew opted for our Performance Graphite™ from our Performance Colours™ Range, which is suitable for application for up to 900°C. Our plasma-applied ceramic coating has also been tested extensively, and it’s been proven to reduce surface temperature by up to 33%! Matthew added, “I can confirm that heat soak into the cabin is significantly reduced which was very welcome given the 40+ degree weather this summer,” after driving the car for over a 1000 miles with the new ceramic coated manifolds fitted.

Although Matthew doesn’t have a scientific method of measuring the under bonnet temperatures before and after the manifold ceramic coating as other factors have changed such as a new engine and ECU. The new ECU is able to control the speed of the radiator fans and control the water flow rate with the addition of an electronic water pump. His previous experience of the cooling system prior to the coating when stuck in traffic on a hot day was horrendous, heat soak into cabin was terrible and the cooling fans would be on pretty much constantly with the coolant temperature noticeably rising on the gauge.

After having the manifolds coated in Performance Graphite™, in similar conditions – stuck in traffic on a hot summers day, he noticed significantly less heat soak into the cabin and when the fans did kick in, they are soft started by the ECU and increased in RPM responding to the increase in temperature and when the temperature dropped back down to the target value the fan RPM dropped slowly before coming to a stop. “I believe the heat generated by the exhaust manifolds must be reduced significantly when you consider the fans previously ran on full power for sustained periods of time compared to now where they are able to slowly increase RPM and spin back down shortly after to keep the temperature at the target level,” Matthew added.


Get in touch with us to find out more on how our coatings can benefit your classic build.